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Schmallenberg Virus

Schmallenberg virus is an emerging disease. There is no evidence to suggest that the disease is transmissible to humans (To date, people who have been in close contact with infected animals (e.g. animal workers, farmers and veterinarians) have not reported any unusual illnesses. The disease is not officially notifiable.

The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) and ECDC (European Centre for Disease Control) and also the animal and human health authorities at national level, are collaborating to ensure rapid detection of any change in the epidemiology in animals and humans. Investigations and research projects are ongoing in the affected countries to better understand the epidemiological and the microbiological aspects of this outbreak among ruminants.

The information available on the Schmallenberg virus suggests that it is part of the Simbu serogroup viruses that are primarily transmitted by insect vectors (midges, mosquitoes). There is no direct transmission from animal to animal, other than maternal transmission from mother to offspring in utero. Exposure to a similar virus - Akabane virus (widespread in Australia) induces strong immunity in the infected animal.

Schmallenberg virus manifests in ruminants -

  • Adult cattle - (transient) febrile illness and milk drop and
  • As congenital malformations in newborn animals/aborted animals (mainly sheep)